The Russian Katusha team has announced its selection for the upcoming Tour de France. Deprived of the services of Kim Kirchen owing to his heart problems at the recent Tour de Suisse, the team’s best chance of a high overall placing may well come in the shape of former white jersey winner Vladimir Karpets, 14th overall at the Giro d'Italia this year.
Robbie McEwen is listed to start his eleventh Tour de France and will be looking to add to his haul of twelve stage wins, having missed out on participating last year. With the race passing through his adopted home of Belgium in the opening days, the Australian will not be lacking in motivation. He turned 38 on Thursday but has told Cyclingnews that he is determined that this year's Tour de France will not be his last.
Apart from Karpets and McEwen, Katusha will be looking to the wily Sergei Ivanov to hunt out opportunities on transitional stages just as he did in Colmar last year. With recent World Championship medallists Alexander Kolobnev and good climber Joaquim Rodriguez also in their ranks, the Russian squad should be capable of animating the race on a variety of terrains.
The full line-up is: Pavel Brutt, Sergei Ivanov, Joaquim Rodriguez, Vladimir Karpets, Robbie McEwen, Alexander Kolobnev, Stijn Vandenbergh, Eduard Vorganov and Alexandr Pliuschin. Sport Directors: Serge Parsani, Dmtri Konychev.